Combat systems operator serving in Middle East

ONCE upon a time, he was travelling around Australia working as a deckhand - now Petty Officer Steven Schonrock is travelling the world working as a combat systems operator in the Royal Australian Navy.

Based in Bahrain in the Middle East, the 35-year-old is working ashore as a Battlewatch assistant as part of a Combined Maritime Forces combined taskforce.

Steven says he has been able to put his training into action, describing his travels as an "incredible experience".

"As a Combat Systems Operator working in the operations room, or nerve centre, of our front line warships, constantly adapting to new and different weapons systems and how threats can be tracked and identified in an unfamiliar environment can present challenges. However, I have found that it enables me to continuously learn and improve my skills, as well as teaching me to think quickly on my feet."

Steven has come a long way since graduating at St Mary's Catholic College; he has had a career spanning 16 years across both coasts of Australia, South-East Asia, Hawaii and the Middle East, which has presented many opportunities and challenges.

He misses playing soccer on the weekend for Granville Soccer Club and fishing and camping at Fraser Island, coming home to his parents and wife Mel and their two daughters every chance he gets.

"While I can only get home once or twice a year, it's always great to come home for large family gatherings such as Christmas, where I get to see all my relatives and friends, going camping, playing backyard cricket and watching the footy as we always have over the years."

Having served in places such as East Timor, Solomon Islands and the Middle East, Steven is no stranger to being away from home in an operational environment.

However, his current role is slightly different, in that he is operating from the headquarters ashore as opposed to at sea.

Petty Officer Steven Schonrock, with his wife Mel, is travelling the world working as a combat systems operator in the Royal Australian Navy.
Petty Officer Steven Schonrock, with his wife Mel, is travelling the world working as a combat systems operator in the Royal Australian Navy.